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Beryl Black Archive


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From the program for Dick Whittington on Ice, Empire Pool, Wembley, London, 1968.


CAREER SUMMARY

Birth
February 16th 1928
Sandringham Melbourne Australia

World Championships
1950

Titles
Australian Snr Men's Champion, 1949
Australian Snr Pairs Champion with Carroll
Open World Professional Skating Champion, 1953


British contributions (London)
BBC-TV, Babes In the Wood On Ice (1950-1), Sleeping Beauty On Ice (1952), Humpty Dumpty On Ice (1953-4), Aladdin On Ice (1954-5), Cinderella On Ice (1956-7), Dick Whittington On Ice (1968), Jack and the Beanstalk On Ice (1970-1), Robinson Crusoe On Ice (1971-2)

Australian contributions
Sleeping Beauty, Ecstasy on Ice (1960), Ecstasy on Ice (1959-60), Robinson Crusoe on Ice (1959), Spice and Ice (1956), Rose Marie on Ice (1954-5), Puss in Boots on Ice (1954-5).

Awards
Namesake, Reg Park Artistic Trophy, 1999
Australian Sports Medal, 2000
Ice Skating Australia's Hall of Fame, 2004
ACTISA Life Membership, 2007
ACT Sports Hall of Fame, 2012



Professional Ice-skating Judge
ISU judge
Coach, Stuart Beckingham, Miriam Manzano, Kacie Shelley
Portrait, 2015 Archibald Prize entry by David Tilley

BORN FEBRUARY 16TH 1928 AT SANDRINGHAM in Melbourne Australia, he began skating at 11 at St Moritz St Kilda and won the Australian and Victorian figure skating championships in 1949. Trained by Felix Kaspar, he was the second Australian to compete for International figures titles after Patricia Molony, and became the first Australian to win a medal at the British Figure Skating Nationals, placing second at the 1949 championships at Empress Hall.

He was also the 1947 Australian Pairs Champion with S Carroll; British Championship medallist (1949, 2nd/3); the first Australian Men's World Championship competitor (1950, 7th/9); British Professional Champion; World Professional Champion in 1953 at Blackpool, England; a national and international coach and ISU judge; and a skater in British and European ice shows for many years. Among these were three years with the Casa Carioca Ice Revue in Garmish, Germany; Babes in the Wood with Belita at London's original Empress Hall; and ice shows at Wembley in England which included the male principal and choreographer of Dick Whittington On Ice (1968) and Robinson Crusoe on Ice.

He studied classical ballet, working as a professional dancer, and was a choreographer at the Wembley Empire Pool in London and ice shows on BBC television. He toured the theatre circuit in Australia for a considerable time, and judged the Professional World Championships for many years. In 1981, he moved to Canberra, enticed there from Melbourne's St Moritz rink where he played ice hockey with Canberran, Len Fisher. He was head coach at the Phillip Rink for over 25 years until his retirement in 2013. He created the Christmas Ice Follies Show, directing it annually until the late-1990s, and coached Australian Internationals Stuart Beckingham, Miriam Manzano and Kacie Shelley until his retirement in 2009. The Artistic Trophy in his name was established by the ACT Ice Skating Association to advance the art of figure skating and "to celebrate the contribution Reg Park has made to ice skating, especially in the ACT".

He was a recipient of the Australian Year of the Elderly Persons Achievement Award in 1999 and the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for "competitive history and services to the sport in coaching". One of 22 inaugural inductees to Ice Skating Australia's Hall of Fame in August 2004, he was awarded life membership of the ACT skating association in 2007. In 2012, he was inducted to the ACT Sports Hall of Fame at the age of 84, noting the international renown of his skating career, his professional ice shows and his coaching achievements. His portrait was entered in the 2015 Archibald Prize by David Tilly.

01. Ice Show Contributions

Australian contributions:
Sleeping Beauty, Princess Theatre, Melbourne
Ecstasy on Ice, His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, WA, 8 July 1960
Ecstasy on Ice, Theatre Royal, Adelaide, SA, 27 May 1960
Ecstasy on Ice, Tivoli Theatre (1932-1966), Sydney, NSW, 17 February 1960
Ecstacy on Ice, Her Majesty's Theatre, Brisbane, QLD, 1960
Robinson Crusoe on Ice, Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne, VIC, 23 December 1959

Ecstasy on Ice, Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne, VIC, 9 December 1959
Spice and Ice, Tivoli Theatre (1932-1966), Sydney, NSW, June 1956
Spice and Ice, Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne, VIC, 18 March 1956
Rose Marie on Ice, Capitol Theatre, Perth, WA, 9 December 1955
Rose Marie on Ice, Kalgoorlie, Kalgoorlie, WA, 29 November 1955
Puss in Boots on Ice, His Majesty's Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand, 9 April 1955
Puss in Boots on Ice, Empire Theatre, Sydney, NSW, 27 December 1954
Rose Marie on Ice, Empire Theatre, Sydney, NSW, 27 December 1954
Rose Marie on Ice, Theatre Royal, Adelaide, SA, 22 October 1954
Rose Marie on Ice, Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne, VIC, 20 August 1954

British Contributions:
Babes In the Wood On Ice, 1950-1 Empress Hall, London
Sleeping Beauty On Ice, 1952, Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Humpty Dumpty On Ice, 1953-4, Choreography, Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Aladdin On Ice, 1954-5, Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Cinderella On Ice, 1956-7, Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Dick Whittington On Ice, 1968, Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Jack and the Beanstalk On Ice, 1970-1, Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Robinson Crusoe On Ice, Dec 1971-2, Empire Pool, Wembley, London

02. Historical Notes

[1] Reg Park interviewed by Bill Stephens (2006). Park speaks about his childhood memories; first job and ambitions; mother's remarriage; his introduction to ice-skating; Sonja Henie (1912-1969); competitive skating, ice show and arts studies; working as a interior decorator; early training in ice-skating and social influences; the end of WW2; attempts to join the Navy; winning his first Australian Championship; changing his coach; training with Felix Kaspar; the Burley Ice-skating dynasty; going to London as the Australian Men's Champion to compete in the World Championships; competing in the British Championships; training and teaching in Switzerland; Jacques Gerschwiler (1898-2000); the variations in ice-skating standards between Australia and England at that time; why he did not skate in the Olympics; the differences in the types of ice shows; freelancing; early days in London while training for the championships; his Babes in the Wood experience working with Belita (1923-2005) at Empress Hall, London in the early 1950s; touring France with Cirque Bouglione; health concerns which affected his competition ambitions; continuing competitive skating after Babes in the Wood; studying classical ballet; working as a professional dancer; Queenie Paul (1893-1982), wife of comedian Mo Roy Rene (1891-1954); Jennie Howard; tap dancing.

[2] Park also discusses how his dance experience aided his ice choreography; recollections of Rose Marie on Ice; Armand Perrin; Pat Gregory; recollections of the Casa Carioca in Germany; Terry Rudolph; Ginger James; Winnie Gill; producing an Ice Show in New Delhi; David McIllwraith; Dawn O'Donnell; exhibition skating tours in Switzerland; choreographing the Wembley Ice Skating revues for Tom Arnold; choreographing and starring in ice shows for BBC television; presenting Sleeping Beauty in the Princess Theatre, Melbourne; returning to Australia; an invitation to set up an ice skating school in Canberra; producing the annual ice shows at the Phillip Ice Rink; becoming a judge for the World Professional Ice Skating Championships; choreographing an ice ballet; coaching children; losing his house in the 2003 Canberra Bush Fires; his participation in a television documentary about the fires; his experience on the day of the bush fires; recovery from the bushfire; depression; the new house; reflects on his personal life; becoming involved with Torvil and Dean's Skating with the Stars; the politics of television; experiences as a film actor; plans for the future.

[3] Nestled in the picturesque Bavarian Alps of Germany, Casa Carioca was a small but important nightclub. It was located at the US Army base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen where the military forces took their leaves. Constructed originally as an open-air Spanish style club, the Alpine cool weather later required a retractable roof. Featuring an ice show, this nightclub was the place to be if you were a professional skater. Early shows there were directed and performed by German skaters then, in 1950, the Casa was produced and directed by Chicago girl, Terry Rudolph, who danced with Catherine Littlefield, founder of the Philadelphia Ballet. American skaters went there to learn and polish the routines they would later perform in the big ice shows in the United States.

02. Citation Details

Ross Carpenter, 'Park, Reg (1928 - )', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio-park.html, accessed online .

03. Select Bibliography

[1] Reg Park interviewed by Bill Stephens, National Sound Archives, 2006

04. Citations
Citations | 1 - 280 | 281-on |
G A L L E R YArrows at right scroll the images
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With Jeanette Altwegg

British Championships, 1949.

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Babes in the Wood

Program cover signed by Belita, London, 1950-1. Ron Blakely Archive.

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Ice Shows

[Left] Programme from Casa Carioca Ice Revue, Garmish, Germany, in which Reg Park skated for three years. [Right] Wembley 1955-6 Babes in the Wood Program. Park skated in the original at Empress Hall with Belita.

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Casa Carioca

Terry Rudolph and Cast at Casa Carioca, early 1950s. ProSkaters website.

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Dick Whittington on Ice

Wembley, London, 1968.

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Dick Whittington On Ice

London, 1968. (Elaine Kichenside [Flack])

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Dick Whittington On Ice

London, 1968. (Elaine Kichenside [Flack])

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Dick Whittington On Ice

London, 1968. (Elaine Kichenside [Flack])

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Robinson Crusoe On Ice

Empire Pool Wembley, London, 1971. Annette Lovell.

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At Prince Alfred Park

Sydney, Australia, undated.

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In Canberra

Phillip ice rink, Canberra, Australia. Canberra Times, 1980

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Canberra's Ice Master

Artice, Canberra Australia. Canberra Times, 22 Nov 1987.

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With Jack Lee.

On left with Jack Lee, 2003. Australian Professional Skaters Association.

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Coaching at Canberra

Canberra, Australia, 2000s.